Goals from Yaya Toure, Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy gave Manuel Pellegrini's men a resounding victory over Ronald Koeman's high-flying side at St Mary's on Sunday
The Ivory Coast international slammed home a fine drive to give City a second-half lead before Lampard and Clichy wrapped up all three points in the final 10 minutes, despite Eliaquim Mangala’s sending off.
|VIEW FROM ST MARY'S
|By Dan Brett
It was a fast and frantic match at St. Mary's as second-placed Southampton played host to Manchester City, with plenty of chances at both ends for either side to state their intent on a top-four finish.
The first half grew into a fiery tussle for both midfields as Yaya Toure and Steven Davis provided the best outlets for their respective sides to make things tick, however it was the Ivorian's class during the early stages of the second period that helped Manuel Pellegrini's side to all three points.
Frank Lampard and Gael Clichy notched goals of their own, with the former Chelsea man anchoring midfield well and getting forward to score in trademark fashion. A fair result after a lost-at-sea second half from Saints' defence.
Southampton went into Sunday's game flying high after a stunning start to the season, but were given a reality check in a comprehensive performance from Manuel Pellegrini's side.
In-form striker Sergio Aguero was denied what appeared to be a clear penalty early on when he was fouled in the box by Jose Fonte, only for referee Mike Jones to caution him for simulation - much to the Argentinian's bemusement.
Southampton almost caught City on the counter in the 21st minute but an unmarked Graziano Pelle failed to get a significant touch on Morgan Schneiderlin’s cross, before Joe Hart saved well from Steven Davis - making his return from a hamstring injury - on the rebound.
A sweeping City move then ended with Stevan Jovetic, one of four changes from the midweek win over Bayern Munich, squeezing a shot past Fraser Forster shortly before the break, but Toby Alderweireld did well to get back and clear off the line.
Koeman was forced into a change at half-time, with Maya Yoshida replacing Schneiderlin due to a thigh injury, but they began the second period on the front foot, with long-range strikes from Alderweireld and Dusan Tadic far away.
However, City went in front six minutes after the restart when Toure was teed up by Aguero on the edge of the area, and his powerful low shot took a slight deflection off Alderweireld and ended up in the bottom corner.
Koeman attempted to inject more of an attacking threat as Shane Long came on for Sadio Mane in the 67th minute, but it was City who almost struck again soon after when captain Vincent Kompany - who was forced off late on with an apparent injury - flicked on a corner and Aguero fired over from close range on the volley.
Long's pace came into play soon after, though, as he was brought down by Mangala while racing towards Hart's goal. The Frenchman, who has endured a tough start to life in the Premier League, received a second yellow to hand Southampton an apparent route back into the game.
But as the hosts chased the game, Aguero was again involved in a fine City break before substitute Lampard raced onto James Milner's pass and fired past Forster from 20 yards.
The Southampton goalkeeper did well to deny Aguero as he raced clean through on another devastating counter, but the forward turned provider once more in the closing stages to set up Clichy for a third, though Kompany's late injury gave City something of a headache ahead of their clash with Sunderland on Wednesday.